Increasingly, scientific and military missions require the use of space-based optical systems. For example, new capabilities are required for imaging terrestrial like planets, for surveillance, and for directed energy applications. Given the difficulties in producing and launching large optics, it is doubtful that refinements of conventional technology will meet future needs, particularly in a cost-effective manner. To meet this need, recent research has been investigating the feasibility of a new class of ultra-lightweight think-skin optical elements that combine recent advances in lightweight thermally formed materials, active materials, and novel sensing and control architectures. If successful, the approach may lead to an order of magnitude reduction in space optics areal density, improved large scale manufacturing capability, and dramatic reductions in manufacturing and launch costs. In a recent effort, a one meter thin-film mirror like structure was fabricated. This paper provides an overview of tools used to model and simulate this structure as well as results from structural dynamic testing. In addition, progress in the area of non-contact global shape control using smart materials is presented.